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Built-in Vs Freestanding Grills: Pros/Cons Of  Each

Built-in vs Freestanding Grills: Pros & Cons Of Each

Are you upgrading your outdoor cooking set-up?

Trying to decide whether a built-in or freestanding grill would benefit you more?

Here we look at the pros and cons associated with both of these types of grills and other factors that should be considered when making your decision.

An Overview Of Built-In Grills

Built-in Vs Freestanding Grills: Pros/Cons Of  Each

As more people invest in their outdoor cooking set-up and see the value they can bring to a home, built-in grills are becoming more popular each year.

Built-in grills are installed into an outdoor countertop - there is always a need for a structure to be in place that can support the grill.

Different types of built-in grills can be bought, depending on which source of fuel you prefer to cook with.  Gas is the most common fuel used in built-ins (propane or natural gas), but there are also built-in charcoal and electric grills available.

Gas is the most popular type of built-in by a long shot as it is generally the most reliably performing and easy-to-use fuel source for a grill.  Once your gas line is connected, all you need to do is turn a couple of knobs to get your grill fired up.

Charcoal grills give the most robust flavor - so many people will opt for these even though they are a little more high maintenance.  Built-in charcoal/gas hybrid grills are also available for those who want the best of both worlds.

At the end of the day, the point here is that no matter which type of grill you tend to like, odds are there's an option for you available in a built-in configuration.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons associated with built-in grills.


  • Built-in grills are highly customizable.  By design, these units are meant to fit in to a custom outdoor kitchen - so there is a lot you can accomplish on that front.
  • Built-in grills tend to be quite reliable.  Since these cookers are designed for permanent installations, manufacturers emphasize longevity when they design and choose construction materials for these grills.  You simply won't find very many cheaply made built-ins.
  • Performance and functionality.  Since built-in grills are installed into an outdoor kitchen cabinet, you will have plenty of work space surrounding your grill by design.
  • Aesthetics.  One of the biggest draws of a built-in grill is the look.  A proper custom outdoor kitchen set up is the ultimate space that will be a showstopper when you entertain family and friends.
  • They can add value to a property.  Since outdoor kitchens are permanent fixtures, they can add value to your home and be a draw for buyers when the time to sell comes.


  • Installation comes at a price. Whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor, it takes a little extra time and/or money to get your grill installed even after you've purchased the hardware.
  • Installations are permanent.  While it's not totally impossible to have a do-over on an outdoor kitchen, it can be pricey.  So when you're buying a built-in, you're buying something that will get use for years, potentially decades.
  • Prep work & design.  This goes in the same vein as the previous two points, but you need to consider patio coverage and weather elements exposure when placing an outdoor kitchen. If your kitchen is in a windy or high-exposure area, extra design features or accessories may be necessary.

An Overview Of Freestanding Grills

Freestanding grills are simply grills that are affixed to a cart, which often has storage space and/or wheels underneath the main cooking area.

While built-in grills tend to be gas fueled grills with a few notable exceptions, freestanding grills are offered in a much wider variety of configurations and fuel types.

To name a few, you can find an abundance of charcoal grills, kamado grills, pellet grills, and gas grills in a freestanding configuration. 

It's worth pointing out that freestanding grills have a much wider range of quality.  You can find extremely expensive units made by luxury grill brands, or you can find cheaply made units that don't cost much.


  • Lots of different types to choose from.  Whether you want a kamado, a gas grill, or a pellet grill, there are an abundance of choices when it comes to stand alone grills.
  • Freestanding grills tend to be portable.  While most are heavy, they also come with quality caster wheels on the bottom, meaning you can move your grill around when needed.
  • Many price points.  Whether you're a total beginner on a tight budget or a restauranteur looking for a commercial grade appliance, there are options for you.


  • They aren't as space efficient.  You'll need to designate an area on your patio where your grill can stay, so you'll need to take your grill's footprint into consideration.
  • Quality control issues on cheaper units.  Even though many freestanding grills are available at low price points, many manufacturers who offer grills at low price points tend to cut corners which leads to inconsistent cooking.
  • The look.  While freestanding grills don't look bad per se, you definitely won't be able to create a cohesive look with your outdoor kitchen.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this guide has helped you to make a decision as to what type of grill would suit you and your outdoor space the most!

No matter what your needs are, odds are there are built-in and freestanding grills out there that will suit you well.

At the end of the day, the decision between a built-in or a freestanding unit comes down to your budget and your preferences.

Custom outdoor kitchens come at a higher cost, but can pay off on the back end by adding value to your property.  Not to mention the memories made entertaining!

Freestanding grills on the other hand tend to be a little bit less of an overall investment up front, but will take up space and not add value to your property.

Still on the fence? Reach out to us and we'd be happy to help you decide!


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